Olympus and Amplifire Team Up for Endoscope Sterile Processing


April 1, 2020

Categories: AAMI News, Medical Device Manufacturers, Medical Device Manufacturing, Sterilization, Sterilization Professionals

Amplifire, a leading knowledge engineering platform, and Olympus Medical Systems Group have partnered to develop a new digital learning course designed to advance patient safety by improving reusable duodenoscope processing by technicians.

Through a series of interactive and iterative multiple-choice questions, the learning platform detects and corrects misinformation and knowledge gaps in an individual sterile
processing technician’s training. This data can be used by supervisors to pinpoint where and why duodenoscope processing mistakes occur and resolve them by providing technicians with additional training.

Amplifire is offering the course for free to its Healthcare Alliance members. Olympus is also offering it for free to all of its customers.

“We are excited to be joining forces with Olympus and their global effort to improve patient safety when using these essential life-saving devices. This partnership aligns with our core values and goals, as we aim for improved patient safety through clinical knowledge engineering. In a world of rapidly evolving bacterial threats to patient wellbeing, Olympus is united with us in helping healthcare organizations elevate technical performance and patient safety,” said Bob Burgin, Amplifire chief executive officer.

Initial results from a pilot launch in two hospital systems showed that the digital learning platform improved technicians’ performance of the multistep process needed to clean the duodenoscope.

Partnering to Improve Training, Patient Outcomes

To design the learning platform, Olympus worked with Amplifire to prepare questions based on a recent Olympus study that identified steps that are sometimes missed during TJF-Q180V duodenoscope sterile processing. They used this data to create interactive and engaging learning modules to “improve the consistency and outcomes” in duodenoscope processing.

Jason Ashraf, Olympus global director for medical reprocessing strategy, said the digital learning platform is “part of an overarching effort to improve how we train on reprocessing our duodenoscopes. We know this is an area that needs improvement.” He added: “We want to make sure we can bring to market new, innovative tools that can make a difference for our end users. To that end, we’re doing a whole series to improve training as well as redesigning our duodenoscopes to make them easier to reprocess and improving our IFUs [instructions for use].”

In response to unacceptable contamination levels of duodenoscopes as revealed by postmarket studies in hospitals, the FDA issued an announcement in November that stressed the importance of meticulously following manufacturers’ sterile processing instructions and called for the implementation of a “comprehensive quality control program” in addition to at least one supplemental measure to bolster processing efforts.

The Amplifire platform is powerful augmentation to instruction already provided by Olympus sterile processing technicians dispatched to hospitals. “What really excited us about Amplifire was that it was a different way for users to retain and understand complex information,” said Ashraf. “This could truly help us make a difference in technician training and ultimately reduce hospital infections caused by poorly reprocessed duodenoscopes.”

Personalized and Engaging Digital Training

When a sterile processing technician signs into the Olympus online digital training platform, they are presented with a dashboard containing two training modules: precleaning, leakage testing, and manual cleaning; and disinfecting, rinsing, and storing.

When the technician begins a module, they are first presented with a series of multiple choice questions, for example:

The instrument channel needs to be flushed with disinfectant solution multiple times throughout the manual disinfecting process. When is flushing NOT needed?

The technician then chooses from a list of possible answers:

After the endoscope has soaked in the disinfectant
After the forceps elevator recess is flushed
Before the forceps elevator recess is flushed
I DON’T KNOW YET

The technician clicks once on an answer if they are unsure and twice if they are sure of their response. Up to two answers can be chosen if the technician is unsure of their answer.

If the technician is sure that their answer is correct, and the answer is indeed correct, the module moves on to the next question. If the technician is unsure and correct or sure and incorrect, the module will come back to this question with a supplemental learning module that contains additional information and questions, engaging the technician in targeted learning for specific sterile processing steps.

This process measures the confidence of the technician as they answer the questions, which is unique to the Amplifire algorithm. “Metacognition, an awareness of one’s thinking, increases learning and long-term retention,” said Sandy McKee, Amplifire senior marketing and communications manager. When the technician finishes the modules, supervisors get a report showing collective and individual skills evaluations.

Katie Leo, Amplifire director of client engagement, explained that “data from completed modules shows how many technicians are confident about misinformation as well as how many technicians recognize the holes in their duodenoscope processing skillset.” In short, knowledge gaps and confidence in misinformation should be addressed differently when the goal is to improve patient safety and good outcomes.

Supervisors can use this data to identify technicians struggling with sterile processing instructions, provide them with an extra level of support, and monitor improvements in their performance.

Initial Results and Next Steps

The duodenoscope sterile processing course was first deployed as a pilot program in two hospital systems. Since then, the Olympus training teams have worked with Amplifire to make the modules available to all its customers that use the TJF-Q180V duodenoscope.

Karli Illigash, Olympus director of marketing, said that since they launched the digital learning platform to their sales organization in early March, “The feedback has been extremely positive. I just heard from one of our sales representatives who wanted to know if we plan to expand the program to other endoscope models. The clinician he represents said she really liked the concept and the content in the TJF-Q180V modules.” Illigash said Olympus is indeed looking to expand this approach to training soon.


AAMI is partnering with Amplifire to create an interactive learning platform for its BMET Study Guide, a resource designed for clinical engineers and biomedical equipment technicians to test their knowledge and sharpen their skills for the CBET certification exam. Once launched, the resource will be available at the AAMI Store. Stay tuned!